e. e. cummings was a burlesque fan

eec0465e. e. cummings, the American poet I quoted on 28 August 2014, was a huge fan of burlesque from the 1920s (when he was in his 20’s) until his death in 1962. His wife was a former Ziegfeld showgirl. At a time when the politicians and press were calling burlesque obscene and demanding laws to ban it, cummings insisted it was not only art, but high art.

eec0738In 1925, in Vanity Fair, he wrote about New York’s most popular burlesque house, Minsky’s National Winter Gardens Theater:

… the creations of the National Winter Gardens possess, in common with the sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, the painting of John Marin and the music of Igor Stravinsky, the virtue of being intensely alive; whereas the productions of the conventional theatre, like academic sculpture and painting and music, are thoroughly dead and since “art,” if it means anything, means TO BE INTENSELY ALIVE, the former constitute art and the latter are balderdash.

eec1142In another essay, titled, “Burlesque, I Love It!” he describes one popular dancer, June St. Claire, as having,

… a literally miraculous synthesis of flying and swimming and floating and rising and darting and gliding and pouncing and falling and creeping and every other conceivable way of moving …

eec0834cummings wrote about strippers in some of his poems, and also sketched and painted strippers. Many of his paintings hang in museums. You can find a number of his sketches and paintings of strippers for sale online at The Paintings of E. E. Cummings: Strippers.